Tell Them Our Names is a short film directed by Mary Moynihan, and written by Paul Kennedy, Mary Moynihan, and Fiona Bawn-Thompson.
Opening on an anonymous beach in Europe, a group of women and children line up in front of a bureaucrat’s desk, only to be barked at by a gatekeeper. But the women are not silent. They are here for a reason. An unexpected act of violence is carried out, as the women become authors of their own stories. Tell Them Our Names is an imagined recreation of moments from the lives of five powerful women during WWII. Set in the context of World War 2 and the Spanish Civil War, these powerful women speak of harrowing acts of oppression and inhumane treatment, yet still, despite all the odds, the spirit of defiance and hope rings through.
Women’s stories that have inspired the film are Marta Hillers (1911-2001) from Germany who wrote her autobiography Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin) under the name ‘Anonyma’ (Anonymous), detailing her experiences of the last days of WWII as she and over one million other women were raped and abused by Allied soldiers of the Red Army; Mary Elmes (1908-2002), a Cork woman who was the first Irish person honoured as ‘Righteous Among Nations’ for her work saving Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers during World War II; Maria Eugenia Jasińska (1906-43) from Łódź in Poland who worked for the resistance and gave up her own life rather than ‘name names’; Neus Català Pallejà (b. 1915) from Spain, a member of the United Socialist Party of Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, an active collaborator with the French Resistance during WWII and the only living Spanish survivor of Ravensbrück, one of the largest concentration camps set up by the Nazis especially for women; and Dolores Ibárruri, or La Pasionaria (1895-1989), from Spain, a revolutionary leader, political activist, Communist and crusader against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War who created the famous cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’.
Tell Them Our Names was created as part of Women War and Peace, a European transnational project implemented by four partner organisations from Ireland, Spain, Germany and Poland. The partner organisations are:
– Smashing Times Theatre and Film Company, Ireland, www.smashingtimes.ie;
– Institute de Formacion Y Estudios Sociales (IFES), Valencia, Spain, www.ifes.es;
– Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet, Hannover, Germany, www.uni-hannover.de;
– University of Humanities and Economics in Lodz, Poland, www.ahe.lodz.pl.
Special thanks to
EM Creative, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Reconciliation fund, The Lantern Intercultural Centre, DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, The Pearse Centre, Larry Kenna, Louise Murphy, Billy Caughey, and Féilim James.